Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Mehdi Hashemi (41)


Iran Live: Proper Line on the Election "We Will Foil Enemy Plots"

1555 GMT: Earthquake. A tremor measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale has struck the town of Kaki, 90 kilometres (56 miles) southeast of the southern Iranian city of Bushehr, killing at least 30 people and injuring more than 600.

The quake was followed by at least four aftershocks which jolted Kaki and the nearby city of Khour-Mowj.

The Russian company that has constructed the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, 18 kilometres (11 miles) south of Bushehr, said the earthquake has not affected the operations in the facility.

1545 GMT: Cyber-Watch. A claim is circulating that Minister of Information Hassan Nami has announced an Islamic version of Google Earth called "Basir".

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Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad v. Parliament...and the Revolutionary Guards

See also Iran Live Coverage: Please Vote (P.S. --- We Did Not Rig the Last Election)

1916 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Forty-eight Iranian men, abducted in Syria last August and released yesterday in exchange for freedom for 2130 civilian detainees in Syrian prisons, arrive at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport:

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Iran Live Coverage: A Collapsing Economy?

See also Wednesday's Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad v. Everyone Else

1710 GMT: Economy Watch. A new report by the Iranian Chamber of Commerce indicates that 5931 industrial units --- 67% of those surveyed --- have been shut.

1440 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Ebrahim Raissi, the Deputy Iran Prosecutor General, has promised that indictments in the case of Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, will be issued soon.

Hashemi, accused of financial and electoral fraud by his critics, was detained in September on his return from three years in exile in Britain. He was released on bail last month.

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Iran Analysis: Rafsanjani Strikes Back (and Why the Supreme Leader is Allowing It)

So is this the re-emergence of Rafsanjani as a leading political force? Not quite.

For four years --- ever since Hashemi Rafsanjani gave his last Tehran Friday Prayer in July 2009, in which he questioned the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's re-election and challenged the Supreme Leader by calling for the release of political prisoners --- Ayatollah Khamenei has been balancing his former and current Presidents.

And he is not going to stop now.

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The Latest from Iran (23 December): Ahmadinejad on Economy "Everyone is Wrong Except Me"

See also Iran Flashback: The Supreme Leader Joins August 2009
Iran Feature: The Death of Ahmadinejad's Subsidy Cuts Programme
The Latest from Iran (22 December): "We Are Not Isolated. You Are Isolated"

2135 GMT: Press Watch. The Press Court has acquitted the reformist Shargh newspaper of insulting veterans of the 1980s Iran-Iraq War in one of its cartoons.

The newspaper was closed on 26 September for the publication and its managing director, Mehdi Rahmanian, was imprisoned.

The cartoon showed a column of men blindfolded in bright light. Cartoonist Hadi Heydair explained after the ban was imposed:

This sketch intends to display "ignorance", where some, in broad daylight, are blindfolding each other, to keep them from seeing the daylight. If the cartoonist wished to show soldiers, they would have to be wearing war uniforms, carrying arms, and be shown in a war setting.

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The Latest from Iran (21 December): Is the Regime Celebrating Its Longest Night?

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Sanctions, Awards for Political Prisoners, and the Supreme Leader on Facebook
Iran Propaganda 101: Mass Killing of Children in Connecticut --- The Jews Did It
The Latest from Iran (20 December): Revolutionary Guards Decide Which Reformists Can Stand in Presidential Election

A Table for Yalda Celebrations1720 GMT: Irony Watch. Well, here is one advocate for free speech who is not in detention in Iran....

Political analyst Mohsen Saleh seizes the moment after Spain’s satellite provider Hispasat took Iranian State outlets Press TV and Spanish-language Hispan TV off the air. He tells Press TV: "[This] contradicts the basic law of...freedom of speech of any party or any people from all over the world. That is why…the Iranian channels could sue the Americans and the Europeans even according to their law."

Saleh continued with the claim that it is the West who are scared of a free press, “When Press TV covers the 99-percent protests in New York and in other places…the Americans and the capitalists, the materialists, do not like to see such cover and they do not like to see others’ opinions in terms of these issues."

Saleh concluded, “I guess the Europeans and the Americans will finally find themselves really isolated from the whole world."

And who is responsible for the sudden ban of the Iranian channels? "Analyst" Stephen Landman knows: "The usual Israeli suspects."

See also Iran Propaganda 101: Mass Killing of Children in Connecticut --- The Jews Did It

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The Latest from Iran (20 December): Revolutionary Guards Decide Which Reformists Can Stand in Presidential Election

See also Iran Feature: Breakthrough in Nuclear Talks? No Way.
The Latest from Iran (19 December): "The Worst Economic Conditions"

2110 GMT: Human Rights Watch. The United Nations General Assembly has criticised Iran for human rights abuses by an 86-32 vote with 65 abstentions.

The resolution on Iran voiced "deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran relating to, inter alia, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including flogging and amputations".

1840 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Iranian State media continues to play up renewed discussions, headlining, "Russia Hopes Iran-P5+1 Talks to Be Held Next Month".

The website seizes on a matter-of-fact statement by a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, "Currently negotiations are under way with Tehran on the place and date. We hope that this work will be completed in the near future and such a meeting will take place in January of next year."

Press TV repeats the mantra:

Iran claims that as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is free to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes but the United States, Israel and others have accused Iran of developing nuclear equipment for military purposes.

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The Latest from Iran (18 December): Tehran's Strategy for the Nuclear Talks

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi speaks of "positive" talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency last week

See also The Latest from Iran (17 December): Seeking Influence on Syria

2053 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Back from an academic and media break --- including an appearance on BBC Persian --- to find the Supreme Leader's military advisor, Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, doing some chest-thumping: “Major powers and regional ones have no other option but to deal with Iran if they want to have a share of regional interests. The Persian Gulf region and the Strait of Hormuz are influential on economic, political, and cultural issues [of the world] and are very effective from various viewpoints in the world.”

Rahim Safavi declared that Iran "will have the first say" in the Persian Gulf for "many years to come".

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The Latest from Iran (16 December): Is Tehran Ready for Concessions on Nuclear Programme?

See also Iran Report: Activists Fleeing the Assault on Civil Society
The Latest from Iran (15 December): Ahmadinejad Jabs at the Revolutionary Guards

2050 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Here is one way to make the regime mad --- give a prize for freedom of thought and human rights to political prisoners....

Foreign Minister Ramin Mehmanparast lashed out today at the European Parliament's award of the Sakharov Prize to imprisoned lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi, under threat of a six-year sentence: "Unfortunately, the European Union and its affiliated bodies have a selective approach to and objectify human rights matters, and pursue their political objectives by raising such issues."

Appearing to miss the point about the recognition of Sotoudeh, a prominent defender of accused activists, and Panahi, Mehmanparast continued, "Instead of offering awards on the basis of political goals, the European Parliament should deal with countless instances of rights violations in European countries such as the miserable conditions of asylum seekers and immigrants, discrimination against Muslims and the suppression of legitimate socio-economic demands of Europeans."

Press TV adds to the wayward criticism by failing to mention in its article that Sotoudeh is behind bars and Panahi is under effective house arrest.

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The Latest from Iran (9 December): Talking Tough on Sanctions

See also Iran Feature: How a US Neo-Con Pundit Is Helping Tehran's Propaganda
The Latest from Iran (8 December): Tehran to Hit New Low in Oil Exports?

2030 GMT: The House Arrests. Habibollah Asgarouladi, a leading member of the conservative Motalefeh Party, has called for the release of former Presidential cnadidates and opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi --- held under strict house arrest since February 2011 --- if they distance themselves from the protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.

Asgarouladi said, "We never say that the 2009 candidates took [seditious] actions because they are basically not seditious. We believe they were falling in line with seditious elements."

1720 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. The lawyer for Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, said his client's detention order has been extended for another two months.

The attorney claimed that Hashemi, seized in September when he returned from a three-year exile in Britain, is under pressure to agree to a television interview.

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